Welcome to “Read This, Read That,” where I invite friends, bloggers, and bibliophiles of all sorts to share some of their favorite books or writing with Mode and the Like. From novels and poems to cookbooks and art tomes, you’ll find a diverse selection of recommended reading in this feature.
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery / The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
recommended by Hannah
As the call of adulthood intensifies, I find myself yearning for the fragile, beautiful world of a child. Icons of a gentle childhood come and gone are invaluable to those living in a world of college textbooks and career planning manuals. I savor the occasional conversation with my peers spent passionately recounting Disney movies. I still remember long summer afternoons stationed in the children’s section of the local library. Amidst busy semesters of philosophy and Old English, the endearing characters and stories of children’s literature remain an oasis, warm and comforting.
This lust for childhood days recently led me back to two of the most well-loved books of my youth—The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I adored them in a vague, dreamy way as a child, but it was not until reading them as an “adult” (if I can call myself that) that I unearthed much deeper, significant meanings. What I found was just as meaningful to my life as the canonical literature of my studies, lessons that just happened to be delivered in the form of a porcelain rabbit doll and a little prince from another planet.
Both The Little Prince and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane unfold like epics, following the characters as they travel and encounter new friends. The little prince speaks of his travels from planet to planet, remarking on the quirky character of the inhabitants and the way in which each befriended him. He learns that even the memory of great friends makes life worthwhile; the stars are no longer only stars, but the beacon of many profound experiences of love. Edward Tulane, a toy rabbit, is tragically lost by his first owner and finds himself handed from home to home. Readers follow Edward as he loves and leaves family after family, learning to both embrace and let go as time inevitably tears them apart.
I found myself smiling through my tears at the touching portrayals of friendship in both stories. The characters may be innocent, and their ways of loving may be simplified, but it is that kind of love that adult readers need reminding of. While everyone must inevitably leave childhood book collections behind, one need not forget the way of living portrayed in their colorful pages. I am surprised to find that children’s books contain the secret to a storybook adulthood lived both whimsically and lovingly.
Hannah Bendiksen is studying Creative Writing at the University of San Francisco. She enjoys scribbling in journals, aimlessly daydreaming, and people-watching through tinted sunglasses.
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